Local Video Game Companies – Chicago

When you think of game development hotbeds, you tend to think of places like San Francisco, Austin, Seattle and Vancouver.  In terms of game studios, Chicago is not quite in the same league as those cities, but it’s no slouch, either.  The history of game development in Chicago is a little unique – the city was once one of the major hubs for the creation and distribution of arcade and pinball machines.  Studios like Bally, Midway and Williams had operations or headquarters in the area.  Today, the demand for arcade machines has obviously diminished, but the city still has several arcade companies that are going strong.

COMPANYNOTABLE PROJECTSFOCUSSTUDIO SIZE
BabarogaZombies!!!, EA Sports MMA (mobile)Mobile, Downloadable?
Chewy SoftwareLeapfrog TitlesLeapfrog, Downloadable11-50
eV Interactive (Palatine)Super Slam Hunting, Dangerous AnimalsConsoles, PC1-10
Double Cluepon StudiosEmerald Kingdom?11-50
High Voltage Software (Hoffman Estates)Conduit, Kinect Star WarsConsoles, Handhelds51-200
Incredible Technologies (Vernon Hills)Golden Tee GolfArcade, Casino Games51-200
Iron GalaxyWreckateerDownloadable, Consoles, Contract Services11-50
Jackbox GamesYou Don't Know JackConsoles, PC, Social, Mobile51-200
Level Zero GamesSir Tet's Recycling Plant, The Sunset?1-10
Lunar Giant (Batavia)Delve Deeper, Touch of DeathMobile?
Namco AmericaPac-ManArcade11-50
NeatherRealmMortal KombatConsoles51-200
Phosphor GamesThe Dark MeadowMobile11-50
Play Mechanix (Glen Ellyn)Big Buck Hunter, Deal or No DealArcade11-50
Raw Thrills (Skokie)Terminator: Salvation, Dirty Drivin'Arcade11-50
Red Mercury (Glenview)AcidSolitaire, AcidSpiderMobile1-10
RobomodoTony Hawk's Pro Skater HD, Tony Hawk: RideConsoles51-200
Sega Amusements (Wood Dale)Bejewled (arcade), Virtua Tennis (arcade)Arcade?
Stand AloneBeacon, Words PlayMobile, Mac?
Stern Pinball (Melrose Park)Metallica Pinball, Avengers PinballPinball51-200
Synapse GamesWar Metal, RedshiftSocial1-10
Toy StudioWord Off, Candy DreamMobile, Social1-10
Wargaming WestWorld of Tanks: Xbox 360 EditionConsoles51-200
Webfoot (Lemont)Resonance, Da New GuysConsoles, Handhelds, Mobile11-50
WMSSlot MachinesCasino200+
Young HorsesOctodadPC, Consoles1-10
Zynga ChicagoHit it RichSocial, Casino?

References:  IGDA ChicagoWikipedia (game company list), GameDevMap, Linkedin, studio pages

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  • http://www.gamejobhunter.com/ Paul Teall

    Day 1 was acquired, and has been renamed Wargaming West.

  • http://twitter.com/RealityPales Charles Weichselbaum

    Thanks so much for this by the way! I’m starting my job hunt this weekend and this page is literally my guide.

  • http://www.gamejobhunter.com/ Paul Teall

    Awesome, glad to help!

  • http://www.gamejobhunter.com/ Paul Teall

    Lots of updates to the Chicago list, courtesy of Chicago game industry vet Joe LeVeque:

    – Added Stern Pinball
    – Removed My Escape
    – Removed Cloakworks (moved to Seattle)
    – Removed Popcap
    – Updated a few other locations and notable titles

  • Justin Lawson

    yes thank you, this was a nice list you put together, and is appreciated

  • James

    Guys, you forgot Volition Inc. :)

  • http://www.gamejobhunter.com/ Paul Teall

    I could never forget Volition, I worked there for just over a year! ;)

    I didn’t include them because Champaign is definitely not Chicago. I could add them somewhere up in the body, because I doubt we’ll ever have a Champaign list (it would be very short). I don’t think it would be fair to include Volition in the Chicago count on either of our city ranking pages.

  • http://www.gamejobhunter.com/ Paul Teall

    Changed Jellyvision to Jackbox Games.

  • Charles

    That drive out there (from Chicago) to do some focus testing on Saints Row The Third felt like a cross country road trip. Definitely not Chicago indeed. lol

  • LC

    Spooky Cool was bought by Zynga

  • http://www.gamejobhunter.com/ Paul Teall

    Thanks, LC. Zynga doesn’t list Chicago as a location on their job site, but it looks like Spooky Cool was left open after the purchase. I’ll note that it’s a Zynga shop now.

  • Jack Klein

    I’ve started a game company near chicago, called Kitchen Cru Studio

  • http://www.gamejobhunter.com/ Paul Teall

    Added Young Horses to the list!

  • Shackel

    Wargaming is known for World of Tanks

  • http://www.gamejobhunter.com/ Paul Teall

    Thanks, Shackel. At the time I posted this, I wasn’t sure what specific titles the Chicago location was focused on. They’ve since updated their site, and posted that they did the 360 edition of WOT. Updated!

  • Roy

    Mobile based?

  • EZ

    WMS was bought by Scientific Games and WMS shares were liquidated at the end of 2013. Although, WMS studios still operate out of Chicago at Roscoe & California. Hours are tough there but Game Dev is the best group to work with at the company.

  • Matthew Macomber

    Just wanted to mention that Volition is based in Champaign, IL. Not Chicagoe precisely, but perhaps close enough to be considered a part of it, since Champaign, IL is not much of a “Video Game City”.

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  • insane_ian

    Robomodo’s website now redirects to a Russian porn site, just FYI

  • http://www.gamejobhunter.com/ Paul Teall

    Oh lord, thanks for the catch! Updated.

  • http://www.gamejobhunter.com/ Paul Teall

    Removed Wideload and kBoom